, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 513-532

Local and landscape drivers of arthropod abundance, richness, and trophic composition in urban habitats

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Abstract

Urban green spaces, such as forest fragments, vacant lots, and community gardens, are increasingly highlighted as biodiversity refuges and are of growing interest to conservation. At the same time, the burgeoning urban garden movement partially seeks to ameliorate problems of food security. Arthropods link these two issues (conservation and food security) given their abundance, diversity, and role as providers of ecosystem services like pollination and pest control. Many previous studies of urban arthropods focused on a single taxon (e.g. order or family), and examined either local habitat drivers or effects of landscape characteristics. In contrast, we examined both local and landscape drivers of community patterns, and examined differences in abundance, richness, and trophic structure of arthropod communities in urban forest fragments, vacant lots, and community gardens. We sampled ground-foraging arthropods, collected data on 24 local habitat features (e.g., vegetation, ground cover, concrete), and examined land-cover types within 2 km of 12 study sites in Toledo, Ohio. We found that abundance and richness of urban arthropods differed by habitat type and that richness of ants and spiders, in particular, varied among lots, gardens, and forests. Several local and landscape factors correlated with changes in abundance, richness, and trophic composition of arthropods, and different factors were important for specific arthropod groups. Overwhelmingly, local factors were the predominant (80 % of interactions) driver of arthropods in this urban environment. These results indicate that park managers and gardeners alike may be able to manage forests and gardens to promote biodiversity of desired organisms and potentially improve ecosystem services within the urban landscape.